The following statement regarding the introduction of the Child Care for Working Families Act, introduced today by U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and U.S. Representative Robert “Bobby” Scott (D-VA), may be attributed to Matthew Melmed, executive director, ZERO TO THREE:
“The Child Care for Working Families Act is a landmark bill that addresses both the high cost and lack of quality child care for infants and toddlers of working families, two factors that can undermine school readiness and the early experiences that shape the foundations of positive brain development and life-long learning. Congress must act to help families with these significant challenges.
Quality child care not only fuels our country’s economic engine by helping parents work, but also builds the workforce of the future. But our current child care market is failing to help those who need assistance the most. The burden of cost is an issue faced by millions of American families. In 33 states and D.C., child care costs more than college tuition at a state college or university. Most young children are in families whose incomes are fairly modest; they simply cannot afford quality care, if care can be found at all.
The lack of quality care is just as urgent. In the first three years of life, brain connections form at the rate of more than a million per second. When child care supports close relationships between babies and their caregivers, it feeds a baby’s growing brain, building the foundation for the development and learning they need to thrive as adults. But 3 out of 4 infants are in low- or mediocre-quality care settings that doesn’t ensure they can reach their potential. Despite research that shows the strongest effects of quality child care are found with at-risk children—children from families with few resources and under great stress—poor quality care is often the only care available in low-income communities.
As part of a comprehensive plan to address our country’s child care crisis, the Child Care for Working Families Act provides states with particularly robust funding to upgrade infant-toddler services, including tools they need to build a better compensated and trained workforce – an essential ingredient for the high-quality care that infants and toddlers need for school readiness.
We are grateful to Senator Murray and Representative Scott for their leadership on the Child Care Working Families Act, and we urge their Congressional colleagues to support this critical legislation.”
A summary of the Child Care for Working Families Act can be found at https://www.murray.senate.gov/public/